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Wow, this week is sure packed full of learning. The thing that I love about this week is that you will learn a lot of practical information that will help you plan your curriculum. We will explore how to plan curriculum with regard to specific content areas such as language arts, math, science and social studies. Another focus of the week will be on classroom management and how having classroom expectations and effective routines will assist with this. This week you will also create your outline for your final project that is due in Week 5 of the course.
Expectations and Routines
One of the areas in which many new teachers struggle is classroom management. It can be hard to figure out what works and what does not work when it comes to helping your students learn in a well-organized and managed classroom. “The primary goal of classroom or group care behavior management is for each child to regulate him- or herself. Self-control is important because children need to learn how to respond to and adapt to rules, frustration, challenges, and disappointment in order to be successful in school and life” (Jaruszewica, 2012, sec 9.2). From my experience the best way to help children learn how to self-regulate their behavior in the classroom is to have clear expectations, or guidelines, and effective routines. Let’s take a deeper look at how you can create clear expectations and effective routines with your students in order to ensure a well-managed classroom that promotes self-control.
What do you envision your classroom expectations will be? What are some routines that you think you will need to have in place in your classroom? In the first discussion forum this week you will be discussing some classroom management situations that you think may arise in your classroom and how you will address these situations. Hopefully the tips shared above will help you to come up with some ideas both for the discussion and for your classroom.
As we discussed during the first week of class, you will have learning standards that you need to use in order to help guide you as you determine the academic skills that you need to teach your students. In the second discussion forum of the week, you will have the opportunity to practice using these standards in order to plan your curriculum. Specifically, you will need to locate the Kindergarten learning standards for your state. You can locate the standards for your state HERE. Once you have chosen the standard that you want to focus on, you will need to share two or three ideas for how you would teach this standard in your classroom. For example, if you choose “Correctly name shapes regardless of their orientations or overall size”, then you would share three ways you could teach this standard. You could read a story that teaches about the shapes, have the children locate the different shapes around your classroom, or put the shapes in a bag and have children pull a shape out and tell you the name of the shape. For each idea you share, make sure to explain it in detail so that your classmates can walk away with some new ideas to use in their classroom.
While our text does a wonderful job of sharing resources for teaching different areas of the curriculum, there are many more resources available. In the chart below there are some additional resources that you can use to help you as you are crafting your initial response for the second discussion forum of the week! I hope you find them helpful. Also if you come across any other resources please post them in the Ashford Café!
Challenging our Students’ Thinking
With the development of the Common Core Standards, it is more important than ever that we promote our students’ cognitive development through critical thinking. “We need to give children opportunities to promote cognitive development through providing opportunities for our students to practice their metacognitive skills as well as their ability to promote problem solving” (Jaruszewica, 2012, sec 10.1). A great strategy for doing this with young learners is by using Bloom’s Taxonomy to guide our questioning. The wonderful thing about Blooms is that we can use it across all of the curriculum areas that were discussed in this week’s readings. Many people think that using higher levels of questions with young learners is difficult, but it is completely possible when you approach it by scaffolding the level of your questions from the most basic level which is remembering to the most complex level of creating. THIS VIDEO does a wonderful job of explaining the different levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Also, THIS ARTICLE does an AMAZING job of providing some specific examples of how to incorporate Bloom’s into the preschool classroom.
Books as Model Text
There were so many wonderful ideas shared in this week’s readings about how to incorporate curriculum in your classroom. One idea that was shared in the text that is a lot of fun to use with children is using books as model texts. Our textbook discussed using Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr., to do this. If you were to do this, you would have your students create their own version of the story using the original story as a guide. For example if it is Halloween time, you could have your students create their own version of Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? that incorporates Halloween ideas. When doing this, your students will learn many concepts including story elements, concepts of print, what makes a good story, and they were able to practice their writing skills. The possibilities of using model texts to encourage learning in your classroom are endless and the best part is that your students will have an overwhelming sense of pride when they finish creating their own book!
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